A divorce does not have to be the end of your love life. Just because things with your ex-spouse didn’t work out, does not mean that you’re no more entitled to romance. So stop running away from the idea of dating after divorce and see how beneficial it just might be for your life!
A divorce can leave you emotionally battered, we know. Whether it was the prolonged legal fight or the arguments at home or even the battles inside your own head — life right after the divorce just doesn’t feel sparkly. It feels rather exhausting and empty. Just the thought of investing so much time and energy in a new relationship can feel like you are being asked to move mountains. Putting yourself out there might take more work than it used to earlier. But if you’re even considering giving yourself another chance at love, we are right here for you.
How to date after divorce? The first order of business to revive your love life is to get rid of stereotypical notions like these: Marriage is the ultimate source of happiness, love, and security. And those who have failed to commit to the rules of marriage and broken the sacred vows need to spend the rest of their life in repentance. It’s utter nonsense and let’s never repeat that in our heads, yeah?
What people fail to realize is that sometimes, it is not the individuals who fail, but the institution of marriage that fails us. And who said that you don’t deserve another shot at finding happiness with another person? Want a rosy love life again? You’ve come to the right place. We have all the tips you need for dating after divorce.
But before we get into that, the real question that bugs the divorcees is how long they should wait before dating. Let’s go ahead and answer that first.
When To Start Dating After Divorce?
Honestly, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The period after the divorce is usually spent on self-reflection and healing. I mean, no one wants to plunge headlong into another relationship right after breaking away from one. At best, it will only be a rebound relationship that will start making you feel like a cheat and a mess later on. And this is a broken marriage we’re talking about, and so the toll is much higher.
You have to ask, “Am I ready for relationships after divorce?” Only you can decide when it’s time to take the plunge. Surely, you need to heal from the scars of your marriage and the emotional and psychological energy you invested in it. You don’t want to take your old baggage into a new relationship. You want to be ready for it and look forward to it.
How long should you wait to date after divorce? Experts usually prescribe a two-year time period for healing. Sounds long, but you’re probably going to need it more than you know. Use that time judiciously to find who you are and what you want and get yourself in order. You can take as much time as you want, but don’t wait for too long lest the fear of dating starts to become a habit.
Post Divorce Dating Signs You Are Ready
Dating after separation or a divorce, it can be difficult to know when you’re ready to get out there again. Just because your girlfriends forcefully downloaded Bumble on your phone during a girls’ night out, does not mean that you should go ahead and find yourself a booty call.
How to start dating after divorce? First and foremost, check for these signs. If you can resonate with three or more of these, it’s possible that you are ready and prepped for the dating game!
- Looking forward to dating: The very thought of dating surprisingly makes you happy. You look forward to it and are happy that you’re giving yourself a second chance without feeling guilty
- You check out potential partners: Although you say no to dating, you have secretly started making a checklist of qualities you want in your next partner. Whether you observe them at a café, or as a colleague at your workplace, you start noticing them
- Over your ex: You bump into your ex at a mall or come across a post about them on social media. You aren’t angry or jealous. You are amazed to know that the murderous rage and hatred you once felt has just died down
- Sexual desire: The thought of uninhibited sex with someone has started ruling your thoughts. You can’t help it
- You develop a crush: You meet someone you can’t stop thinking about, maybe at a friend’s party or on a dating portal. You find them attractive and imagine yourself dating them
So, have you decided if you’re ready to date or not? If you are, then you’re going to love the rest of this article. If not, well, then keep reading anyway because eventually, you’ll be dating again too. Before you get back in the race, here are a few things you need to keep in your mind.
Related Reading: Dating In Your 40s – 15 Tips To Do It Right
12 Tips For Dating After Divorce
Getting back into the dating game is not that easy. Especially when it comes to dating after divorce for a woman. You have grown so used to having a spouse that thinking of making a new boyfriend or girlfriend just feels very wrong. Going through the whole game of dating once again is an unsettling thought, especially when you are in the mid-30s and 40s.
Although it makes you revisit your young and wild days, remember that with the butterflies come terrible bouts of anxiety and worry. It can feel like going on a first date all over again.
“Will she call?” “What will he think of me?” “How am I ever going to make sense of this dating world today?” These, and a number of other questions, can weigh on divorcees’ minds day and night. To make sure you get Cupid’s attention fair and nice, here are 12 of the best tips for dating after divorce that will ensure the arrow strikes its target:
1. Feel the fear but go for it anyway
It’s okay to have your share of doubts and terrors when you just start dating after divorce. Just know that they won’t pass until you date someone. If the fear is about betrayal or failure, then you just handled a big one and came out all right. So, meet people, go to parties, and chat on dating websites, all the while holding your fears gently without judging them.
You don’t have to jump into a commitment just because you had three good dates with this person. Take your time to evaluate all the people you meet. Go out with multiple people and see what’s out there. There’s no rush for you to find ‘the one’ instantly.
2. Don’t give in too soon
So you went out on a date and nothing happened. No sparks flew, your heart didn’t beat fast enough, and you barely felt like making eye contact with them all night, forget flirting with your eyes. Not only were they a little boring, but they were condescending to you for being a vegetarian and they victim-blamed Amber as well as Johnny in the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp controversy, and couldn’t hold a nuanced discussion on the topic. Yeah, there’s no question that this person is a no.
But because you came back home feeling so disappointed, you easily jumped to the conclusion – “This is not going to work”. One bad apple does not mean that you’ll never take a bite out of another ever again. Just because there wasn’t sizzling chemistry right away, does not mean that you’ll never find love again. Leave that kind of thing to the movies. Go on a few more dates (maybe with someone else) before giving up completely, and just try your best to make each date a success.
3. Drop the negative thoughts
Instead of overthinking how long after divorce to date or worrying that you’re no more hip or cool enough to put yourself out there, you need to have a more positive attitude and embrace dating with open arms. This is one of the most significant tips for dating again after a divorce. Relationship experts advise that negative thoughts like “All men/women are awful” or “All the good people are taken” set you back in your romantic life, and are most definitely not true as well.
You need to have the right mindset if you really want to be happy and start dating again. Being optimistic removes self-doubt and prepares you mentally for getting back into the dating world.
4. Learn to be okay when things don’t work out
Yup, post-divorce dating is going to be disappointing on a few days. In spite of your positive outlook and repeated effort at putting on a nice shirt and getting drinks with people, it is possible that the relationship might not work out. One of the tips for dating after divorce is knowing that not every date will help you meet someone you could fall in love with.
You should be calm and try to keep an open mind when it comes to failures too because we won’t sugarcoat it for you. There will be many. It’s hard to transition from having someone to sleep next to every night to now wondering if this new person is ever going to text back. So you should set your expectations low and count each date as a new window into your own self as well as a chance to know another person. Keep it casual and easy and do not dive into expectations too soon.
5. Don’t rush. Text them, but don’t overdo it
There are many rules for texting while dating. Too much texting and calling can lead to quick intimacy and give hope to the other person. If you’re constantly talking to them, they’re going to start falling for you, and what if you’re not ready for them? What if it’s the wrong person? You don’t want to take that path so soon, do you?
One of the tips for dating after divorce is reining in your feelings and your texting game too. You don’t want to bombard people with energy and affection when you are still testing the waters and figuring out what you even like. Keep it casual, simple, fun, and do not come off as desperate! Or you will regret it soon enough.
6. Head online!
Relationship coach Dr. Kirschner says, “Online dating is not only mainstream, but it’s also one of the best ways to widen your search, rather than just hoping that you’ll meet someone at the coffee shop.” Well then, what are you waiting for? Take it from Dr. Kirschner and change your dating life completely.
There are a number of dating sites you can consider. Instead of screaming, “Why is dating after divorce so hard!”, go out there and explore something new altogether. Think about dating on Tinder, eharmony, and OkCupid where you can find suitable matches for yourself.
7. Don’t let the children stop you
This is the primary reason that dating after divorce for a woman is considered so hard. The responsibilities that come with raising a teenager or a toddler cannot be easy, we know that. But being occupied with your children is no reason to not feel like your complete self again. Be a good mom, you’re probably already a fantastic one. But do not compromise your own happiness to such a great extent for the same.
If you really want to date, then children shouldn’t be an issue. After all, they too want their parents to be happy. Hire a nanny or drop them at a friend or family member’s place, take the time out, and at least give yourself the leeway of a few good dates!
8. Don’t make dating the ‘everything’
While dating after divorce, it is equally important that you enjoy your own life and work on other aspects of your life that were shattered during the divorce. Travel to new places, join your favorite clubs, and check all the items off your wish list. This stops you from putting that pressure on dating as the only roadmap to healing and happiness.
9. Don’t bring up the ex
Mentioning your ex is one thing but talking about them relentlessly is a major downer that will hamper your dating game. And it’s definitely not good dating etiquette. Even though your marriage was indeed a huge part of your life, it cannot be the sole subject. However, do not make the mistake of not coming clean to your date. Do inform them that you are dating after separation or that you have been divorced.
If they find out later, it will come across as you lying to them. Other than that, have a blast on your date. You can even make a list of cool topics beforehand to ask them. For example: If you were given 30 days to travel the world, where will you go? Or, do you believe that dreams come true?
10. Talk to other divorcees
It is greatly comforting and insightful to talk to other people who are going through something similar as you. Not only will you be able to make friends, but you may just learn a thing or two from their own stories of dating after divorce. Those who have been in this game for a while can give you a first-hand experience of what to expect and what mistakes to avoid. You’ll be astounded to hear their second-time-in-love stories.
Their stories will motivate you and their inspiring words will give you the courage to get out there. So have a few divorced friends around yourself, and you’ll see how tremendously confident you will start feeling.
Related Reading: Dating For Marriage? 11 Important Things You Should Be Prepared For
11. Know your worth and stick to it
Being divorced doesn’t power down your value. It’s the opposite – you’re stronger than most, having survived a stormy marriage. So, do not compromise on your expectations from your date. Instead of thinking “Why is dating after divorce so hard?”, tell yourself that you’ve got this and you are here to win! Do not lower your expectations, be your honest and kind self, and go about your new dating life.
Be sure of what kind of partner you want or what are some of the ways to find a good man or woman. Try to look for someone who is eager to share responsibilities, loves kids, doesn’t mind cooking – and stick to it. Be open-minded but also know where to draw the line. You have already experienced enough to know what is good for you and what you like or don’t like. Do not settle for less.
12. Love yourself
This one goes without saying, whether you’re dating after divorce, are in a happy marriage, or have been single your whole life. We don’t need to give you reasons or excuses to love yourself. If you truly are kind to yourself and show it to the world wholeheartedly, you will watch the rest of them fall in love with you too. Before you open doors for someone else to love you, you’ve got to wake up and start loving yourself. Here’s a simple trick that you can practice – make a list of all the things you’re good at and how you’re going to get better at them.
You might want to date immediately after a divorce or might wait several years to date, that’s your choice. But whenever you step into the game, make sure you’re a ‘new’ you – who is more wise, more confident, and more lovable than before. During this journey, do not forget to go out there and have fun! Even if you fail to secure your Cupid’s arrow, don’t hold back and be open to newer experiences.
There are more ways to find love than dating. So go ahead, and charm some hearts!
It absolutely can. There is no right or wrong way to go about these things. It depends on the situation, your headspace, and who you are dating. Your first relationship after divorce could last or you might be meant to explore more until you find someone who truly cares about you.
It can be a little nerve-wracking but it does not have to be hard at all. Divorce should not impede you from having fun or falling in love. As long as you are confident and know what you want, nothing can stop you.
Take your time to get adjusted to your new lifestyle. Understand yourself and your priorities. Once you are more confident, tell a friend to set you up or get on dating apps to spice up your dating life again.
You might just become subject to a roller coaster of emotions you were probably not ready for. If you start dating too soon, it is possible that you might bring back the insecurities or the emotional baggage from a previous relationship into the new one.
Not necessarily, but you might find yourself in a rebound if you are not careful. Try to be honest with yourself and don’t go on a dating rampage to make yourself feel better. Overcome the divorce first, you will be much better equipped to handle a new relationship then.
Not at all! There are plenty of ways to still meet people if you want to start dating after divorce.